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The new Surface Laptop whips the MacBook in this important test

The keyboard and trackpad on the new Surface Laptop.
Luke Larsen / Digital Trends

With the release of the new Surface Pro 11 and Surface Laptop 7, iFixit has begun its usual investigation into just how easy it is for customers to repair the devices. And, in an unexpected, but welcome turn of events, the two Copilot+ PCs both scored a repairability rating of 8 out of 10, which represents a huge win over the 5/10 score given to the M3 MacBook Air.

Microsoft has long been a thorn in iFixit’s side, with the original Surface Laptop receiving a rock-bottom rating of 0 out of 10 in 2017.

Back then, customers couldn’t even get into their laptops without causing damage, as everything was soldered onto the motherboard. You couldn’t even replace the headphone jack without pulling out the heat sink, fan, display, and motherboard first. After that, progress was slow — the Surface Pro 7 from 2019, for example, scored a 1 out of 10 and the Surface Laptop 2 scored another 0.

But things did eventually begin to improve, and now with the Surface Pro 11 and Surface Laptop 7, the Surface lineup has earned its first truly good scores.  These new models even have little QR codes inside that take customers right to the manual pages they need — and those manuals were all available from the day of release. That’s a feature we originally saw on the Framework Laptop, and it’s a great addition.

Inside of a Surface Laptop 7 with the Waayfinders highlighted

Also included are what Microsoft calls “Wayfinders,” which are little instructions showing the type and quantity of screws that are holding each component in place. For people who have taken apart a PC or two before, these Wayfinders make it possible to disassemble the Surface devices without even looking at the manuals.

The battery and the storage for the Surface Laptop 7 are both easily removed and upgradable, but the RAM is soldered to the motherboard, making it much more difficult to replace. The Surface Pro 11 is harder to work with compared to a laptop, but when compared to other tablets of its kind, it’s clear that efforts have been made to ensure the display is as easy to remove as possible. They’ve also made it so the SSD can be replaced without disassembling the tablet.

Because Microsoft is considering repairability a bit more seriously now, the insides of the devices have been laid out with easy disassembly in mind. This means the components that people need to access the most, such as the fan and the battery in the Surface Laptop, can be reached without having to remove other parts first.

With a company as big and influential as Microsoft officially on the right side of the repairability movement, maybe we can hope to see improvements from competitors as well. No one should have to fork out another $1,000 or more for a new device just because manufacturers purposely make their products difficult to repair.

Willow Roberts
Willow Roberts is a contributor at Digital Trends, specializing in computing topics. She has a particular interest in Apple…
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